BATTLE OF BIG BETHEL: Crucial Clash in Early Civil War Virginia
Full-length treatment of the small but consequential June 10, 1861 battle that reshaped both Northern and Southern perceptions about what lay in store for the divided nation. In the spring of 1861, many people in the North and South imagined that the Civil War would be short and nearly bloodless. The first planned engagement of the war at Big Bethel, however, provided undeniable evidence of just how wrong popular opinion could be.
Major General Benjamin F. Butler was in command of Union forces at Fort Monroe, Virginia, at the tip of the peninsula between the James and York rivers only ninety miles from the Confederate capital at Richmond. Thanks to the foresight of Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, President Abraham Lincoln's elderly chief military adviser, thousands of troops had been assigned to Butler to protect the fort and eventually threaten Richmond, thus perhaps bringing a quick end to the war.
Opposing the Yankees was the aggressive and dramatic Colonel John Bankhead Magruder, who decided to lure Butler into a fight. Magruder fortified a strategic swampy creek crossing, skillfully placed several artillery pieces, selected excellent defensive positions for his 1,400 men, and camouflaged the entire works with brush. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Butler marshaled about 4,000 men for a daring dawn attack.
NEW-softcover edition, available mid June 2019 ......$20.00 rct
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Updated as of 2/29/2024ABBREVIATIONS: dj-dust jacket, biblio-bibliography, b/w-black and white, illust-illustrations, b/c-book club addition.
rct - recent arrival or pending publication, spc - OMM Special Price